Police have confirmed that officers are investigating claims of “electoral malpractice” after two councillors were expelled from the Labour Party over a residence scandal.

Councillors Bharti Gajjar and Chandni Mistry have been kicked out of the party after facing claims that they live hundreds of miles away from Brighton.

The pair were both elected at the 2019 local election in May and now sit as independent councillors on the city council.

Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle told The Argus he reported the matter to police due to concerns over electoral fraud.

He said inconsistencies were first flagged when one of the councillors changed their address to one outside of the city.

Mr Russell-Moyle said: “At an initial meeting, we weren’t given clear answers to some pretty basic questions.

“The chief whip of the council and I then took the view to escalate this to the regional Labour Party.

“They conducted a more thorough investigation that uncovered many more inconsistencies and, at that point, they were asked to respond to formal allegations.

“The party deemed that they didn’t adequately respond and so they’ve been kicked out.

“Based off the information that’s come to light since September, I’ve written to the police to ask for an investigation for fraud.

“I also asked the council to investigate statements they made to the council register of interests.”

The Argus: Cllr Bharti Gajjar and Cllr Chandni MistryCllr Bharti Gajjar and Cllr Chandni Mistry (Image: BHCC)

Sussex Police have now confirmed that they are investigating the matter.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Sussex Police has received reports of electoral malpractice relating to members of Brighton and Hove City Council.

“The matter is currently under investigation.”

Labour’s candidates for the local elections were selected by the regional party following scandals which saw a number of councillors suspended or quit the party over allegations of anti-Semitism.

A spokesman for the Labour Party said that the party “takes all complaints seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate action is taken”.

He added: “In this case, the party has decided to cancel the membership of Bharti Gajjar and Chandni Mistry.”

A Labour source said it understood the matter has been referred to the police and “will cooperate with any police enquiries”.